Project 68-bis cruisers: the Sverdlovs' tasks in the post-war fleet of the USSR. Part of 3




This article completes the cycle on Soviet artillery cruisers fleet. In previous articles we reviewed history 26 and 26-bis, 68K and 68-bis ship designs, their technical characteristics and capabilities of Soviet cruisers in comparison with their foreign peers. It remains only to deal with the place and role of artillery cruisers in the post-war Navy of the USSR: find out what tasks were put before these ships and understand how effectively they could solve them.

As we said earlier, in the first post-war years, the USSR launched the construction of torpedo-artillery surface ships: in the period from 1945 to 1955, the 19 light cruisers of the 68K and 68-bis projects, 80 30-K and 30 destroyers of 1950-K and 60 and XNUMX-bis, XNUMX and XNUMX XNUMX K and XNUMX destroyers of XNUMX-K and XNUMX destroyers - and this is not counting the remaining in the ranks of cruisers and destroyers of pre-war projects. Nevertheless, the superiority of the fleets of the NATO countries remained overwhelming, and therefore the leadership of the armed forces did not expect too much from surface warships. In the XNUMX-s and the very beginning of the XNUMX-s, their main task was to defend the coast from landings of potential enemies.

Artillery cruisers on all 4 fleets were consolidated in cruiser divisions (DIKR), while these squads included destroyer brigades. Thus, shipboard strike groups (TUGs) were formed to counter the surface forces of a potential enemy.

In the Baltic, 1956-DIKR was created in 12 g, which included all light cruisers of the 68K and 68-bis projects. Its tasks included not only the defense of the coast, but also the prevention of the enemy to the Baltic torrential zone. Despite the relative weakness of the ship, the Soviet fleet had to dominate the Baltic Sea and, most interestingly, such a task did not look at all unreal. Recall the map of the ATS countries.



A significant part of the coastline belonged to the ATS, and Sweden and Finland, in addition to not joining NATO, also did not have powerful naval forces and did not have bases on which to base them in the Baltic Sea. Accordingly, in order to protect its own coast and its allies, the USSR had to block the strait zone, and this could have been done even without aircraft carriers and battleships. Numerous minefields, land bomber and fighter aviation, cruisers and destroyers with the support of torpedo boats and submarines advanced to the position could well provide the Baltic with the status of “Soviet lake”. Not that the above forces guaranteed the impregnability of the “Baltic fortress”, the NATO fleets of the 50s or 60s, having the desire, could assemble a shock fist capable of breaking through the defense of the straits. But for this they would have to pay a very expensive price, hardly appropriate for tactical landings and / or aircraft carrier attacks on the territory of the German Democratic Republic and Poland.

A similar, but still somewhat different situation developed on the Black Sea - two DIKRs were organized there - the fiftieth and forty-fourth, but still they did not count on sea domination. Not only did a large part of the coastline belong to Turkey, a member of NATO, it also had the Bosphorus and Dardanelles through which, in the event of a threat of war, any ships of the United States and Mediterranean countries could enter the Black Sea. Soviet naval strike groups practiced combat with enemy forces that had passed into the Black Sea within the combat range of the Russian missile-carrying aircraft operating from the airfields of the Crimea, as well as the ATS countries.

At the same time, in addition to fighting the enemy’s ships and protecting their own coast from enemy landings, the actions of the fleet against the coast were of particular importance both on the Black Sea and on the Baltic Sea. In the Baltic there was a pouring zone, on the Black Sea - the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, through which NATO squadrons could pass into each of the seas, which should have been impeded: but it was much easier to “block” these “bottlenecks” if control of the Soviet troops. Accordingly, the fleet as a whole (and the artillery cruisers in particular) were assigned the responsibility of assisting the ground forces carrying out these operations, and such support should also be carried out in the form of tactical assault forces. The task of capturing the Black Sea Straits remained relevant almost until the collapse of the USSR.

In the Pacific Fleet, the tasks of our artillery cruisers differed from their Baltic and Black Sea counterparts unless due to the absence of straits. There, as well as on the Black Sea fleet, two DIKRs were created, No. XXUMX and No. XXUMX, and one was based directly in Vladivostok, and the other in the Strelok Bay. Their main task was to cover the objects and bases of Primorye from attacks by squadrons of surface ships, and, of course, to counteract the landing of assault forces. Similarly, the Northern Fleet cruisers were to be used - they were also assigned the tasks of torpedo-artillery combat with enemy surface ships, ensuring the landing of assault forces and the protection of their internal convoys.

Thus, the main tasks of the Soviet artillery cruisers at the first stage of their service were:
1) Artillery battle with enemy surface ships
2) Countering the landing of enemy landings
3) Providing and artillery support for the landing of own landings

During this period (1955-1962), the Sverdlov-type cruisers were quite adequate to the tasks facing them. They had to operate in coastal zones, “under the umbrella” of numerous land-based naval aviation, the task of this aviation was not so much to cover the ship’s own attack groups from the air, but rather to neutralize enemy heavy ships — battleships and aircraft carriers 68-bis were too tough. In essence, it can be said that the Soviet fleet “rolled down” for some time to the theory of combined and / or concentrated strike, which was owned by the minds of the military in the first half of the 30-s. Indeed, everything was so - enemy groups were to be destroyed by joint strikes of aviation, submarines and surface ships from torpedo boats on light cruisers inclusive. But in comparison with the pre-war times, one fundamental change took place - aviation was now the basis of naval strike power, and therefore, in essence, it would be more correct to say that the connections of our cruisers and destroyers played not the main, but rather a supporting role. . The basis of the sea strike power in the coastal areas was the Tu-16 missile-carrying bombers with anti-ship missiles, the first of which Kome-1 Kometa was put into service in the 1953 year (and serially produced a year earlier). Such a rocket, flying at speeds above 1000 km / h at a distance of up to 90 km, having a semi-active homing head and a combat weight often up to 600 kilograms in weight, was extremely dangerous even for the battleship, not to mention aircraft carriers and heavy cruisers. Of course, the “Red Caucasus” was nothing more than an old and lightly armored light cruiser (board - 75 mm, deck - 25 mm), but being hit by a single KS-1 with a full-fledged warhead resulted in the ship’s standard displacement over 7 500 t broke into two parts and went to the bottom in less than three minutes.


Tu-16 with rocket KS-1

On the one hand, it would seem that the presence of such weapons systems nullified the value of torpedo-artillery ships, which were the cruisers of the 68-bis project, and the destroyers of the 30-bis project. But in reality it is not so - even the deck of the supercarrier is not rubber, you can only prepare part of the wing for take-off, and the commander has to choose which one. If only an airborne enemy threatens a carrier-based compound, then for the time being it is possible to give preference to the fighter squadrons. But if, in addition to an air attack, it is also possible to attack surface ships, then the fighters will have to make room in order to have attack aircraft also ready, but this, of course, will weaken the capabilities of the air defenses. At the same time, the presence of attack aircraft on the decks did not guarantee protection, there was always the danger of a night battle, so the threat of attack by Soviet DIKR required that a powerful escort of its own cruisers and destroyers be used. And all the same, it is much more difficult to repel air attacks during an artillery battle with enemy ships than outside it. In other words, the Soviet cruisers and destroyers, of course, could not independently destroy the balanced squadron of NATO ships, including heavy ships, but their role in such a rout could be quite significant.

And it must be said that even the first appeared cruisers and destroyers of URO did not make the ships of the 68-bis projects useless in a naval battle. Of course, the American air defense system "Terrier" and "Talos" was not only anti-aircraft, but also a very powerful anti-ship weaponwhich could be used within the line of sight. But it should be noted that “Terrier”, due to the nuances of its radar, saw the low-flying targets very poorly, and this did not work very well on surface ships at long ranges. Another thing is the Talos air defense system, which was specially modified so that the rocket would first rise into the air, and then, from a height, fall on the ship, inflicting enormous damage on it. This weapon was extremely dangerous against any surface ship on the battleship inclusive, but it also had its own little difficulties. The air defense system was heavy and required a lot of different equipment, which is why even heavy cruisers had stability problems after it was deployed. Therefore, the composition of the US Navy included all 7 ships with this air defense system (all - in the period from 1958 to 1964)



But the main problem was that the missiles of those years still remained quite complex, unworked and picky weapons. The same Talos had a large number of pre-launch operations that had to be carried out manually, and the preparation of the complex was rather slow. In the series of articles devoted to the Falkland conflict, we saw how often for various technical reasons we failed and could not attack the enemy anti-aircraft missile systems "Sea Dart" and "Sea Wolfe", but this is already a completely different generation of missiles and a completely different technological level. At the same time, Soviet cruisers of the 68-bis project, armed with obsolete, but reliable 152-mm B-38 cannons, usually covered the target with a third volley, and then even close 55 breaks kg of shells were able to whip with splinters and launch, and radar ...

Project 68-bis cruisers: the Sverdlovs' tasks in the post-war fleet of the USSR. Part of 3

Cover. The fire is the cruiser "Zhdanov"

In general, a strike by a pair of Talos missiles could well be fatal for the Soviet cruiser (not to mention the cases when the missile was equipped with an atomic warhead), but it still needed to be delivered. Thus, the presence of guided missiles on a number of ships of foreign fleets in the 1958-1965 did not give them an overwhelming superiority over the Soviet artillery cruisers - moreover, in the 1958-65. there were still relatively few such ships.

And, of course, the very long-range 152-mm guns of the Soviet cruisers were excellent for supporting their own landing, or ground forces operating in the coastal zone.

However, already at the beginning of the 60-s, it became clear that artillery cruisers would soon not be able to effectively participate in solving the tasks of defeating enemy surface formations. The first nuclear submarines were commissioned, the first Soviet rocket cruisers of the “Grozny” type were built, capable of launching a volley of 8 anti-ship missiles flying at a distance of up to 250 km, and, of course, their strike capabilities in naval combat were essentially superior to those of any artillery cruiser . Therefore, in the 1961-62, the DIKRs were disbanded, and the role of the 68-bis cruisers in the fleet changed significantly.

In wartime, the main tasks of domestic cruisers became participation in amphibious operations and countering enemy assault forces, while their role changed somewhat. Now they were assigned the role of flagships of detachments of fire support ships for operational-tactical and strategic assault forces. In addition, the ships of the 68-bis project were assigned the task of destroying enemy landings, but here it was no longer a naval battle with escort ships, but about finishing off convoys defeated by aircraft and other ships and the destruction of the landed forces. In other words, if the enemy landed troops under the guise of warships, then those would have to be destroyed by aviation and / or submarines and surface ships of URO, and then the cruiser would come to the landing site, and from a dozen six-inch crews would sweep away everything - both transport and specialized landing troops. ships, landed units of the marines, and supplies unloaded ashore near the coastline ... It’s not always possible to destroy all this with rockets, by aviation is not possible, but here the artillery perfectly solved this pros. That was how the Baltic cruisers were supposed to be used, and the Pacific even relocated to Soviet Harbor, closer to Hokkaido, where (and from where) landings were expected - both ours and the enemy's. But in the Northern Fleet did not see much need for landings. For some time, they tried to use cruisers to provide Soviet submarines with a breakthrough into the Atlantic, or to cover their deployment areas, but the capabilities of the Sverdlov-type ships did not effectively solve such problems, so the number of cruisers there was reduced to two. The fleet was usually only one, and the second - either in repair or on conservation. Black Sea cruisers were to provide a strategic landing in the Bosphorus.

Thus, around 1962-1965, plans to use the 68-bis cruisers in wartime no longer provided for their use as strike force in sea battles and limited their use, albeit important, but secondary objectives. But the range of duties of ships in peacetime significantly expanded.

The fact is that the USSR set about creating a nuclear-missile fleet, but at that time priority was given to submarines and small surface ships — at the same time, political necessity actively demanded that the flag be shown in the world’s oceans, protected Soviet shipping and ensure military presence. Of all the available fleet ships, the cruisers of the 68-bis project were best suited for this task. As a result, the Sverdlov-type cruisers became perhaps the most recognizable ships of the USSR. They went everywhere - in the Atlantic, the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and there is not even talk about the Arctic, the Norwegian and Mediterranean seas. And how did you go! For example, while carrying out combat service in the Indian Ocean from 5 January to 5 in July 1971 g, “Alexander Suvorov” passed 24 800 miles, visiting the ports of Berbera, Mogadishu, Aden and Bombay.



Significant progress in the development of aviation led to the fact that NATO aircraft carriers no longer needed to enter the Black Sea - now they could strike the territory of the USSR from the eastern regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Previously, the Soviet Navy did not plan to act in areas so remote for him, but now the situation has changed. Enemy groups should be destroyed, and in fact even their simple search and detection after the start of the war represented a completely non-trivial task!

Gradually, the Soviet fleet came to the concept of combat services (BS). Its essence was that the detachments of Soviet ships were deployed in peacetime and served in the areas where the advanced forces of the US Navy and NATO were concentrated. Thus, squadrons of the Soviet Navy were able to control the location and movement of ships of a potential enemy. At the same time, the Soviet ships monitored in such a way that, in the event of a war, they could be able to destroy the advanced NATO groups, or to cause serious damage, precluding the use of ships for their intended purpose. This is an important caveat: to destroy with fire even dozens of 152-mm guns with super-ax under 100 000 and weight is a completely non-trivial task, but to damage it to such an extent that it was impossible to use its carrier-based aircraft.

The peculiarity of combat service was that the detachments of the ships of the USSR Navy were indeed capable of delivering a disarming strike and "taking out" the most dangerous enemy ships - aircraft carriers. But at the same time, the power of the Soviet detachments deployed for these purposes was not enough to ensure acceptable combat stability. In other words, they could accomplish the task, but had practically no chance of surviving - they were expected to die either in the process of accomplishing it, or soon after.

For example, in the Mediterranean, the famous 5 th operational squadron (OPEC) was created, which included at best times up to 80 and more combat and auxiliary ships. With luck, these forces were indeed able to neutralize the US 6 fleet in the Mediterranean, but only at the cost of the most severe losses. The surviving ships would be in the ring of hostile countries - the naval forces of the NATO countries in the Mediterranean basin would have surpassed them many times, and the remnants of the 5 OPEC, of ​​course, could not break into the Black Sea or break through Gibraltar. As a result, regardless of whether the combat mission will be completed or not, in the event of a full-scale conflict, the ships waited for death in battle.

Nevertheless, then it was probably the only way to neutralize the advanced groups before they hit - and we should respectfully remember those who were ready to execute the order at any time, even if without hope to survive.

The tracking of the enemy’s advanced forces should be carried out not only in the Mediterranean, therefore, in addition to the 5 OPEC, the operational squadrons of the Northern (7-I OPESK) and Pacific (10-I OPEC) fleets were formed. In addition, the 8-I OPESK was created for combat service in the Indian Ocean. All OPECCs were headed (or were part of them) of the 68-bis cruiser, and there were several reasons for this. Of course, in the second half of the 60-s, the use of classical artillery cruisers in a naval battle seemed anachronistic, but not because their firepower was inadequate, and then compared to the rocket weapon, the firing range of the artillery was quite small. However, for the BS, the range of use of weapons was of much lesser importance, since tracking could be carried out within the limits of visual visibility. In addition, large and armored ships were not so easy to destroy - as a result, even if the enemy had struck the first strike, the cruisers would have some chance, despite the damage, to accomplish the task assigned to them.

Sverdlov-type cruisers were regularly carried out by combat services and often accompanied our “sworn friends” aircraft carriers. For the first time, this experience was obtained by 7 in May of 1964 g, when the Dzerzhinsky, together with the large rocket ship Gnevny, entered military service in the Mediterranean Sea, where they monitored the 6 fleet aircraft carrier groups led by the F.D. Roosevelt and Forrestal. Perhaps the first pancake was a little lumpy, because if the Roosevelt our ships were discovered and escorted on the fourth day of the hike, the Forrestal could be found only a month later, on the way back - it was on the raid of Istanbul. But our fleet then only studied combat services, and studied very quickly ... Take the same light cruiser Dzerzhinsky: another time, during combat service, which lasted from April to November 1967 g, he and two BOD monitored operational 6-th fleet of the United States, which included the aircraft carriers "America" ​​and "Saratoga". The capabilities of the American "floating airfields" were very interesting for the Soviet fleet, so the number of take-offs and landings of carrier-based aircraft were scrupulously recorded on the cruiser.


"Dzerzhinsky" in the Mediterranean, 1970 g

During the 1969-70 period, the ship took part in combat services, in 1970, he again went to the Mediterranean, although not at the BS — participated in the South exercises under the flag of the USSR Minister of Defense, Marshal of the Soviet Union A.A. Grechko. And in Dzerzhinsky 1972, he again followed one of the AUG 6 fleets in order to prevent US intervention on the side of Israel - and these were no longer exercises, the Soviet ships were fully prepared for the destruction of the American task force. In 1973, the cruiser was again in the Mediterranean, now in the combat area, carrying out the cover of the Black Sea amphibious assault ships with a marine regiment heading into the conflict zone. In 1974-75, he underwent a scheduled repair, but numerous new combat services were waiting for the ship ahead ...

Other Sverdlov-type cruisers did not lag behind, and here are a few examples: as mentioned above, Dzerzhinsky performed the first military service in May 1964 g, but in the same year the Mikhail Kutuzov also followed the 6 fleet. In 1972, when Dzerzhinsky was at the exercises, the October Revolution and Admiral Ushakov were at the BS in the Mediterranean, and later Zhdanov came to the same place with the same goal.


"October Revolution" on the BS in 1972 g

In the Indian Ocean, at about the same time (the end of 1971 - the beginning of 1972 g), Dmitry Pozharsky was in combat service - and also in conditions close to the fighting ones. It was an Indo-Pakistani conflict, and the 10-I OPECC was engaged in what the Americans called "projection of force" - it should have prevented the Americans and the British if they made an attempt to intervene. In 1973, Admiral Senyavin served in the same place, and at about the same time Admiral Ushakov in the Mediterranean Sea kept an operative connection of Americans led by an Ivodzyma helicopter carrier on sight.

But in order to tell about all the combat services of the Soviet cruisers of the 68-bis project, neither the article nor the cycle is enough - here it’s time to write a whole book. After all, even in 1982, in the Mediterranean Sea, “Zhdanov”, which already “knocked up” 30 years (entered into service in 1952 g) and who served as a control ship, still “shaken old” and approximately 60 hours, at a speed of 24-28 nodes accompanied by the nuclear aircraft carrier "Nimitz".

However, not only the battery of six-inch guns and the ability to maintain high speed for a long time ensured the utility of our cruisers in combat services. The fact is that, due to their size and good infrastructure component, the Sverdlov-type cruiser could not only carry the BS effectively, but also helped other smaller ships to do so. From cruisers to ships, OPESK transferred fuel and food (including freshly baked bread), on them the crews of submarines could get a short rest, and in addition, the cruisers' medical equipment was very perfect for their time, and the ships provided medical service for the sailors of the operational squadrons. In addition, the large size and large range of communications equipment of the 68-bis cruisers of the project allowed them to be used as command posts.

Of course, the ships of the 68-bis project over the years of their service were regularly upgraded, but for the most part it was of a relatively cosmetic nature - the composition of radio and radar equipment was updated, but by and large it was all. Of the more serious work can be identified 3 main areas.

Since the further construction of artillery cruisers in the second half of the 50-s clearly lost its meaning, and there were several unfinished ships of the 68-bis project on the stocks, the idea of ​​their completion as missile carriers appeared. In order to test the deployment capabilities on ships of this type of rocket weapons, two 68-bis project ships that had already been commissioned were equipped with advanced missile systems. Thus, the Admiral Nakhimov was re-equipped according to the 67 project, and the Strela anti-ship missile system was installed on it. Unfortunately, the complex was relatively unsuccessful, as a result of which further work on it was discontinued. The light cruiser Dzerzhinsky was modernized by the 70 project - it received the M-2 air defense system, based on the Dvina C-75 land-based system. This experiment was also considered unsuccessful - the SAM missile was only 10 missiles, and they were also liquid and required to be charged before launch. As a result, the M-2 was adopted in a single copy, as an experimental one, but at the beginning of the 70-s, the complex was mothballed and the cruiser was not used for the intended purpose. It can be stated that the work on the "rocketization" of the 68-bis cruisers did not become successful, but this does not mean that they were useless - their result was invaluable experience, which allowed to create truly effective sea-based anti-aircraft and missile systems.

The second direction was the creation on the basis of the Sverdlov-type cruisers of the control ships under the projects 68У1 and 68У2.



The emphasis here was on equipping ships with the most powerful means of communication - the number of receiving and transmitting devices struck the imagination. Each ship received 17 communication posts, which included 17 transmitters and 57 receivers of all bands, 9 VHF radio stations, 3 radio-relay VHF and DTSV stations, long-range and space communications equipment. 65 antennas were installed on the cruiser so that they could work simultaneously. The control cruiser provided stable communications at a distance of 8 000 km without repeaters (and, of course, without taking into account the space communications providing reception anywhere in the oceans). The ships lost parts of the artillery, but acquired the Osa-M SAM and rapid-fire 30-mm AK-230 installations (and the Admiral Senyavin even a helicopter). In total, two ships were converted into the control cruiser: the Zhdanov and the Admiral Senyavin, but they differed somewhat in the composition of their weapons.



I would especially like to note that the crew size was reduced on these cruisers and their living conditions were improved. So, for example, residential premises were equipped with air conditioning systems.

And finally, the third area is the modernization of the 68A project, designed to create a flagship amphibious force. Under this project, 4 cruisers were re-equipped: “October Revolution”, “Admiral Ushakov”, “Mikhail Kutuzov” and “Alexander Suvorov”. The ships received new radio communications, allowing them to manage a group of ships, and some other equipment, including receiving and transmitting devices to transfer cargo on the move, as well as eight AK-230. Work on this project was carried out on the cruiser "Murmansk", but unlike the above cruisers, he did not receive the AK-230.

On the one hand, such improvements do not seem to be principled and do not seem to greatly increase the capabilities of anti-aircraft cruisers. But, recalling the history of the Falklands conflict 1982 g, we will see how useful the British would have been a converted cruiser according to the 68A project. Even regular 100-mm and 37-mm installations could create a density of fire that it was very difficult for Argentinian pilots to wade through, and how the English ships of rapid-fire installations, similar to our AK-230 and AK-630, lacked! And this is not to mention the fact that a dozen long-range 152-mm cruiser guns could be an extremely weighty argument in land battles at Goose Green and Stanley.

Of course, in the middle of the 80's, at the sunset of their service, the Sverdlov-type cruisers almost completely lost their combat significance, many of them left the line. But still, to the last, they retained the ability to support landings with fire, therefore the inclusion of ships of this type remaining in the naval amphibious divisions looks both reasonable and reasonable.

In general, the following can be said about the service of the Soviet Sverdlov-type cruisers. Commissioned during the 1952-55 period, they became for some time the strongest and most sophisticated surface ships of the domestic surface fleet and were not inferior in anything to foreign ships of the same class. The concept of their application (close to its coast, under the “umbrella” of fighter, bomber and missile-carrying aircraft turned out to be quite reasonable. Some may point to the inability of Russian DIKRs to crush the AUG in some hypothetical ocean battle, but in 50's no one was going to drive cruisers into the ocean, and on their shores they were a formidable force to be reckoned with. Of course, the “high point” of the 68-bis cruisers was short-lived, because the classic artillery squadrons were already a thing of the past, and they were changing nuclear missile fleets. But the ships of the Sverdlov type surprisingly managed to take a worthy place even among nuclear-powered submarine missile carriers and surface missile ships. The 68-bis cruiser did not shoot a single shot at the enemy, but their role in Russian history is difficult overestimate.If the “enlightened” Western world practiced “gunboat diplomacy” in the 19 century, and in the 20 century the Americans introduced “aircraft carrier diplomacy”, the Soviet Union in the 60 and 70 of the last century could answer sea ​​power NATO "diplomacy of cruisers" and these cruisers were ships of the type "Sverdlov". The 68-bis cruisers carried out intense service, going to sea for long months and returning to the bases only to replenish supplies, some rest and planned repairs — and then went to sea again. No wonder the navy said:

"Cruisers, though light, but heavy service on them"


At the end of the 80s, the Sverdlovs left the line, and it was frighteningly symbolic. Cruisers created after the war marked the rebirth of the national fleet: they were the firstborn, followed by much more powerful and sophisticated rocket ships. Now their service is over, and after them the nuclear-missile, oceanic Navy of the USSR went into oblivion. A lot of modern ships were scrapped, cut into metal or sold abroad: all the more surprising that one cruiser of the 68-bis project miraculously survived to this day. This is, of course, about “Mikhail Kutuzov”, which, from 2002 g and still stands in Novorossiysk, functions as a museum ship:



I'd like to believe that the leadership of the Russian Navy will be able to keep it in that capacity for future generations. It’s not for nothing that a cruiser bears the name of one of the most cunning and patient military leaders of the Russian Empire! Mikhail Kutuzov saw the fall of Moscow, but he also saw Napoleon’s flight from Russia. "Mikhail Kutuzov" survived the death of the USSR: but perhaps this beautiful ship, faithfully serving its Motherland, is ever destined to become a witness of how the revived Russian fleet once again, as before, goes out into the ocean in all the splendor of its sovereign power?

END.

Previous articles of the cycle:

Project 68-bis cruisers: the backbone of the post-war fleet. Part of 1
Cruisers project 68-bis: "Sverdlov" against the British tiger. Part of 2

List of used literature:

1. A.V. Platonov "Cruisers of the Soviet fleet"
2. A.V. Platonov "Encyclopedia of the Soviet surface ships"
3. V.Arapov, N.Kazakov, V.Patosin "Artillery combat unit of the cruiser" Zhdanov "
4. S. Patyanin M. Tokarev “The most rapid-fire cruisers. From Pearl Harbor to Falkland ”
5. S.A. Balakin "Cruiser" Belfast "
6. A. Maureen “Light Chapaev type cruisers”
7. V.P. Zablotsky "Cold War Cruiser"
8. V.P. Zablotsky "Light cruisers like" Chapaev "
9. Samoilov KI. Maritime Dictionary. - M.L.: State Naval Publishing House of the USSR NKVMF, 1941
10. A.B. Shirokorad "Sverdlov-type cruisers"
11. A.B. Shirokorad "Soviet Naval Artillery"
12. I.I. Buneev, E.M. Vasiliev, A.N. Yegorov, Yu.P. Klautov, Yu.I. Yakushev "Naval artillery of the Russian Navy"

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  1. Alexey RA 14 October 2016 16: 56 New
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    But, recalling the history of the Falkland conflict of 1982, we will see how useful the British would have been a cruiser converted to project 68A. Even full-time 100-mm and 37-mm installations could create a density of fire, which Argentinean pilots could not easily get through, and how English ships lacked quick-fire installations similar to our AK-230 and AK-630! And not to mention the fact that a dozen long-range 152-mm cruiser guns could become an extremely weighty argument in land battles at Goose Green and Port Stanley.

    And if the English had a short barrel ... oh, that is, “Wangard”. smile
    Say thank you that the args did not start six months later - then the limes and aircraft carriers would not have had: Hermes would have been decommissioned, and Invincible would have been sold the antipodes.

    By the way, limes had practically “live” KRL - “Belfast”. wink
  2. avt
    avt 14 October 2016 17: 07 New
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    Well, congratulations to Andrei on the end of the series on "bruises" and the 68th survivor! good And now, as I have already said, yes-a-oy-oo-ooh, you essay about Lyuttsov / Petropavlovsk and how you conjured over captured Zeidlitz - to finish building as an aircraft carrier, or to let Petropavlovsk recover on spare parts. laughing
  3. ava09 14 October 2016 18: 31 New
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    These cruisers were pride and a strong educational factor, even for children. On the rise of the flag they sounded!
  4. exo
    exo 14 October 2016 18: 32 New
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    I read it with enthusiasm :) When, the “October Revolution” was being carved in Coal Harbor, tears were welling up. Then it was still believed that they were replaced by more powerful and beautiful ones. They were mistaken, as life has shown.
    1. masiya 14 October 2016 19: 00 New
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      When I was a boy in Sevastopol in the late 70s, I made my way to the shipyard on Inkerman, there were different ships and submarines before the fig, so I shied away with the camera on them, once I got into the submarine I went into the pilothouse and went into the dark, I didn’t I don’t see the fig, there was no flashlight (I just didn’t think about it) I just stumbled over something and with a slowdown I heard the sound of a burst and a blow below, where I almost fell the hell, but I went back and didn’t climb on Inkerman anymore ...
  5. Blue fox 14 October 2016 18: 54 New
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    Many thanks to the author for the series of articles, I read it with great pleasure, despite the fact that I was a boot-hunter, but my father-in-law was his ashes, was on diesels on a BS in the Mediterranean, from him, over a glass of tea, I heard words of gratitude to the sailors from cruisers, thanks to which they could receive fresh provisions, mail, fuel, etc. My personal thanks to the sailors! Glory to the USSR Navy and glory to the Russian Navy!
  6. doktorkurgan 14 October 2016 21: 33 New
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    Concerning the M-2 SAM, solid-fuel missiles were also developed, so that everything could turn out differently ....
    And to make the frontier of interception to the straits, for example, for the Black Sea Fleet it would be nice. Yes, and for the KBF to push the carrier ships of the air defense systems to the probes would be nice ....
  7. Rurikovich 14 October 2016 22: 30 New
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    Appearing at the change of eras, these ships to the maximum, as far as possible based on their capabilities, served the reviving fleet of the USSR good . And these are both trained and experienced officers, and good support (albeit in some ways archaic) in the confrontation with the enemy in the Cold War, while missile weapons were still born and were gaining experience and power. They gave what they could for their time and demand from these ships more just a mockery of common sense. The good thing is that I was smart enough to use the potential of pr68,68 bis to the maximum. Personally, I can’t say anything bad ...
    Author plus for excellent material good drinks hi
    1. DimerVladimer 28 October 2016 13: 24 New
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      Quote: Rurikovich
      Appearing at the change of eras, these ships to the maximum, as far as possible based on their capabilities, served the reviving fleet of the USSR. And these are both trained and experienced officers, and good support (albeit in some ways archaic) in the confrontation with the enemy in the Cold War, while missile weapons were still born and were gaining experience and power.


      In something you are right.
      But to build a large series of obsolete artillery cruisers was a mistake. Too expensive mistake, too expensive school desk!

      It was enough to build 1-2 on the fleet
  8. Aviator_ 14 October 2016 22: 53 New
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    Good material, solid. Respect to the author!
  9. Comrade 15 October 2016 01: 53 New
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    I really want to believe that the leadership of the Navy of the Russian Federation will be able to maintain it in that capacity for future generations.

    Let the hand signing the decree about the delivery of the cruiser to scrap dry up.
  10. Serg65 15 October 2016 08: 12 New
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    hi Welcome Andrew!
    A similar, but still somewhat different situation developed on the Black Sea - two DIKRs were organized there - the fiftieth and forty-fourth, but still they did not count on sea domination. Not only did a large part of the coastline belong to Turkey, a member of NATO, it also had the Bosphorus and Dardanelles through which, in the event of a threat of war, any ships of the United States and Mediterranean countries could enter the Black Sea. Soviet naval strike groups practiced combat with enemy forces that had passed into the Black Sea within the combat range of the Russian missile-carrying aircraft operating from the airfields of the Crimea, as well as the ATS countries.

    There is an opinion that the situation really was somewhat different.
    At the Yalta Conference, and especially in Potsdam, Iosif Vissarionovich, as the winner, strenuously insisted that the USSR provide the naval base in the strait zone, in particular, his eyes fell on the Turkish town of Chardak in the Dardanelles. How not strange. but Churchill at first was not opposed. Truman and Turkey’s entry in the 1944 year into the anti-Hitler coalition prevented the implementation of the plan. Stalin's desire to get hold of such a base was justified by the strengthening of the CCF. By 1953, the Black Sea Fleet included 2 battleship, 7 light cruisers (2-68 bis, 2-68, 2-26-26 bis and one trophy (Kerch)) and 30 EM 30 bis. Agree, for the Black Sea at that time the ship grouping is more than redundant! Here, here you can’t remember the saying "your ways are interesting, Lord"!
    one cruiser of the 68 bis project has miraculously survived to the present day. We are, of course, talking about “Mikhail Kutuzov,” who, from 2002, has stood in Novorossiysk to this day and functions as a museum ship

    "Mikhail Kutuzov" has an interesting story. He became 12 in 68 bis Ave., by the will of fate, he twice officially participated in two armed conflicts during the Arab-Israeli war, in 1967 and 1973. Both times he was in the port of Alexandria as the command post of the USSR’s chief military adviser in Egypt. In part, it was the presence of the cruiser in the port that made it possible to stop the Israeli Air Force raids on the port of Alexandria. “Kutuzov” also became famous in the political field, his guests over the years were the president of Indonesia Sukarno, the head of Egypt Abdel Nasser, the king of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I, the shah of Iran and his wife. It was after visiting the “Kutuzov” that Sukarno asked Khrushchev for the present same cruiser. In the 1957 year, the cruiser was sent to Leningrad. at the celebration in honor of the 40 anniversary of the October Revolution from the Black Sea Fleet, while receiving the order to transition to test the cruiser for strength during the 9 ball storm. Such a storm was found near the Shetland Islands. The "Misha" was badly hit then, the angle of heel reached 67 degrees of maximum in the entire history of service, after which the ship returned to an even keel. The right cheekbone, a cast section weighing 20 tons, was simply twisted together with an anchor and laid on the deck. In this condition, the cruiser reached its destination, the city of Leningrad, but already on November 7 after repair it stood at the parade on the Neva.
  11. Serg65 15 October 2016 08: 23 New
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    In the seventh photo, the Dzerzhinsky people in Middle-earth say goodbye to demobilization (as usual under “Farewell of the Slav”).
    But those same demobilization fellow
  12. lazy 15 October 2016 11: 00 New
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    Having read the article, I wondered if such artillery support ships are still needed in the modern world. after all, no one has removed the task from the fleet to support the landing. It’s good if you are a rich country that can launch hundreds of tomahawks and use hundreds of attack aircraft. That way no budget is enough, and shells on board can take much more than missiles. And then the question arises about the need to book such a ship. the artillery duel of the BDK against the surviving enemy tank does not seem to be in favor of the BDK. So maybe at least one per fleet, such ships are necessary, of course, designed with modern capabilities in mind.
    1. Serg65 15 October 2016 11: 20 New
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      Quote: lazy
      And then the question arises about the need to book such a ship. BDK artillery duel against the surviving tank

      A tank that has entered the landing zone has an 1 chance to survive from 100. The zone is very cleaned up (aviation, artillery support ships. And the BDK itself with its Grads). On TV, they usually show only the victorious march of the marines.
    2. exo
      exo 15 October 2016 16: 31 New
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      These ships would be useful even now. It is in the role of supporting the landing. But there is no point in renewing their construction. Although, in the late 80s, they considered the issue of producing caliber towers close to 152 mm. My friend, his brother at Kramatorsky Zavod, worked . He told.
  13. exo
    exo 15 October 2016 16: 27 New
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    Beautiful frame, with poor quality :)
  14. the most important 15 October 2016 23: 06 New
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    Something tells me that the era of barrel artillery in the Navy is not over yet. Given that: 1. There can not be very many missiles on a ship (even 200), and there can be thousands of shells. 2. The cost of one shot of a shell and a rocket is also a thousand times difference. 3. Modern shells also went their own way of development, including both in range and power. 4. Half of the world's population lives in a 100 km zone from the sea coast with all its infrastructure. 5. Strikes must not always be carried out for 1000 versts, but also within 100-200 km .... and many more factors ... I won’t be surprised if, after some time (when we begin to live richly), ships with powerful artillery (200-300 mm), with systems such as "hail", "tornado" ... for action as part of the combined forces of the fleet, built using modern realities.
    1. DimerVladimer 28 October 2016 12: 40 New
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      Quote: the most important
      Something tells me that the era of barrel artillery in the Navy is not over yet.


      Does this evil spirit tell you?
      The era of artillery ships rolled into the WWII and the actions of the US Navy in the Pacific Ocean - fully confirm this. If you don’t know something or don’t understand, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t ...
      1. the most important 31 October 2016 23: 52 New
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        Quote: DimerVladimer
        If you don’t know something or don’t understand, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t ...

        That's for sure !!! If you don’t understand the essence of what was written, then better keep silent ... The artillery duels between squadrons are already in the past. But for strikes along the coast, landing support, etc. trunks just right. The newest destroyer Zamvolt has two 155 mm gun mounts ... And what is newer than it in the world?
        1. DimerVladimer 1 November 2016 09: 46 New
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          Quote: the most important
          The newest destroyer Zamvolt has two 155 mm gun mounts ... And what is newer than it in the world?


          Which had to be delivered, because linear accelerators are not ready - the first ship in the series can be re-equipped according to the readiness of the main projectile guns.
  15. DimerVladimer 28 October 2016 11: 12 New
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    In the 1950s and the very beginning of the 60s, their main task was to defend the coast from landings of potential opponents.
    Artillery cruisers on all 4 fleets were consolidated in cruiser divisions (DIKR), while these squads included destroyer brigades. Thus, shipboard strike groups (TUGs) were formed to counter the surface forces of a potential enemy.

    It is very doubtful that art-cruiser divisions could oppose anything to an aircraft carrier strike group - rather, they would be beaten (like what happened with Yamato) and not even come close to an effective fire range. Rather, their function - the projection of a potential threat, that is, to carry out airborne operations, if there is a threat in the form of the KUG of the LC of the USSR - is already required to cover the landing operation either superior forces or AUGs.

    In the Baltic in 1956, the 12th DICR was created, which included all the light cruisers of the 68K and 68 bis projects. Its tasks included not only coastal defense, but also preventing the enemy from entering the Baltic Strait zone. Despite the relative weakness of the naval staff, the Soviet fleet was supposed to dominate the Baltic and, most interestingly, such a task did not at all seem unrealistic. Recall the map of ATS countries

    A very dubious task, the fleet actually locked up in the Baltic - any attempt by the DICR to approach the straits, threatened him with air raids, from which he would certainly have suffered losses - no barrage could protect the cruiser from possible air strikes, since it was problematic to ensure a constant round-the-clock air lock due to the short range and patrol time of the intercept forces, but it was possible to massage the strike forces on the DIRK very flexibly and at the right time - flawed tactics that give the enemy initiative.
  16. DimerVladimer 28 October 2016 11: 44 New
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    Not that the above forces guaranteed the inaccessibility of the “Baltic fortress”, the NATO fleets of the 50s or 60s, having the desire, could assemble a shock fist capable of breaking through the defense of the straits. But for this they would have to pay a very expensive price, hardly appropriate for tactical landings and / or aircraft carrier attacks on the territory of the German Democratic Republic and Poland.

    Dear Andrei, you probably took the time to familiarize yourself with materials such as "The US Navy in World War II."
    In this case, you should imagine what the KMG will be like under AUG air strikes and the situation will be even worse in the case of ground-based aviation strikes, since there will be no restriction on the type of attack aircraft based - this is a larger range of attack aircraft and massing of strikes, much more significant compared to AUG.
    Another thing is that the risk of aviation losses, to destroy a group of cruisers dangling passively from the defense of the Baltic, does not belong to NATO’s highest priorities in such a conflict :) They would have had a more important task to stop tank avalanches.
    I think the KUG in the Baltic would be much more efficiently destroyed by NATO submarine forces. The KUGs themselves did not risk entering NATO's operational areas.
  17. DimerVladimer 28 October 2016 11: 55 New
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    They had to operate in coastal zones, "under the umbrella" of numerous land-based naval aviation, and the task of this aviation was not so much to cover their own naval strike groups from the air, but to neutralize the enemy heavy ships - battleships and aircraft carriers that are ships of the project 68 bis were too tough. In fact, it can be said that the Soviet fleet for some time "slipped" to the theory of combined and / or concentrated strike, which owned the minds of the military commanders in the first half of the 30s. Indeed, it was like this - enemy groups had to be destroyed by joint attacks by aircraft, submarines and surface ships from torpedo boats to light cruisers, inclusive. But in comparison with the pre-war times, there was one fundamental change - aviation was now the basis of naval striking power, and therefore, in essence, it would be more correct to say that the formations of our cruisers and destroyers did not play the main, but rather an auxiliary role . The basis of naval striking power in coastal areas was Tu-16 bombers


    Regrettably, the admirals "played" according to the rules of the past war, not realizing that out of the striking force, the surface fleet became secondary, itself requiring constant air cover and incapable of independent active operations.
    Aviation not only “buried” the battleships as a class, but also before the appearance of the URO - and the cruiser.
  18. DimerVladimer 28 October 2016 12: 23 New
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    But if, in addition to an air attack, an attack by surface ships is also possible, then the fighters will have to make room in order to have attack aircraft at the ready, too, but this, of course, will weaken the air defense capabilities. At the same time, the presence of attack aircraft on the decks did not guarantee protection, there was always the danger of a night battle, so the threat of attack by the Soviet DICRs required the use of a powerful escort of their own cruisers and destroyers. And still, it is much more difficult to repel air attacks during an artillery battle with enemy ships than outside of it. In other words, the Soviet cruisers and destroyers, of course, could not independently defeat the balanced squadron of NATO ships, including heavy ships, but their role in such a defeat could be very significant.


    It is difficult to imagine such a clash in the Baltic - a too small theater of action for the entrance of the AUG.

    Another thing is the Black Sea, North Sea or Pacific theater of operations.
    The KGB of the USSR could not pose the slightest threat to the AUG - under no circumstances could they approach the AUG under the cover of weather (except perhaps certain times of the year in the Arctic, but you are actively invading to choose the most favorable time of the year).
    I repeat - NOT THE SMALLEST CHANCE! (Again I can only advise you to get acquainted with the source of the US Navy in World War II - Rabaul is an example for you).
    The battle in Leyte Gulf is the second case after WWII when aircraft carriers were hit by artillery ships - the fault of this is exclusively organizational - the bad interaction of the squadron admirals. "... (16:40) American intelligence discovered the Ozawa compound (the northern one - the bait compound) - which was struggling to be discovered - and Halsey took this compound for the main forces of the Japanese fleet. Considering the Kurita fleet to be destroyed in the Sibuyan Sea, Halsey ordered 3rd Fleet (65 ships) go north to intercept the Ozawa formation.
    The battle at Samar Island (October 25).
    On October 24 at 16:14, Kurita turned east and headed for the Strait of San Bernardino. At that moment, the battleships of Oldendorff went to Surigao Strait to intercept the Nishimura Formation, and the Admiral Halsey's Operational Formation moved north behind the Ozawa aircraft carriers. The Strait of San Bernardino was discovered. At night, the fleet of Kurita passed the straits and went to the island of Samar. At 5:40, the Japanese fleet turned south in six columns and entered the American Task Force 77.4 (Rear Admiral T. L. Sprag). The closest to the Japanese were the escort aircraft carriers Fensho Bay, Kalinin Bay, Gambir Bay, Sen Lo, White Plains and Kitken Bay. American radars spotted the Kurita fleet at 05:46.
    Rear Admiral Sprague ordered all planes to be sent into the air and lie down on the east course, trying at full speed (16 knots) to get away from the enemy. At about 5:56 am, the Yamato battleship opened fire from a distance of 15 miles on the White Plains aircraft carrier. Later, he transferred the fire to the aircraft carrier "Sen Lo". At that moment (07:24), Sprague broadcasted a request for help, but Oldendorf was far in the Surigao Strait, and Halsey was at a distance of 500 miles, connected with the battle with the Ozawa compound. Admiral Sprague sent 7 destroyers to launch a torpedo attack on the Kurita compound. The destroyers managed to remove the heavy cruiser “Kumano” from the battle and delay the advance of the enemy, however, they suffered huge losses in personnel, and 3 destroyers were also lost. Sherman calls this attack “one of the most daring and bloody battles during the entire war”, and Kincaid “one of the most valiant and heroic acts in the war.”
    At this time, the Japanese cruisers bypassed the American group from the north and opened fire on aircraft carriers. All aircraft carriers received hits, the Gambier Bay aircraft carrier lost speed, then rolled over and sank. The remaining aircraft carriers, under enemy fire, fired aircraft that attacked the Japanese fleet with bombs, torpedoes, rockets and even machine-gun fire on a low-level flight. One of the cruisers sank, two were seriously damaged.
    The results of the battle finally and undoubtedly showed that even the most powerful combination of artillery ships without air cover now has no chance. Even against jeep aircraft carriers covered only by destroyers and escort destroyers, provided they have enough planes and determined pilots.

    I believe, dear Andrei, that you undoubtedly know this operation and the conclusions from it.
    Therefore, I do not understand how to seriously talk about combined attacks - I do not think that our admirals were so unaware ...
  19. DimerVladimer 28 October 2016 13: 03 New
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    However, already in the early 60s it became clear that artillery cruisers would soon be unable to effectively participate in solving problems of defeating enemy surface formations.


    If the admirals, like the generals, were not preparing for the last war - back in 1944 it became clear that the century of artillery cruisers had come to an end - they were built by inertia.
    They did not pose the slightest threat - access to a range of artillery fire required too many conditions to coincide, almost by chance - and war requires planning and chance when planning it is difficult to take into account.
    My opinion was that the series should be limited, since the fighting qualities of ships of this type no longer met the conditions of modern naval combat, and not diplomatically speaking - they were useless in a possible future conflict, helpless against the AUG, and the funds should be used to build an underwater fleet - the only cheap means against both the AUG and against the landing forces or merchant shipping (here I agree with Doenitz).
    - It’s not in vain that Kuznetsov demanded aircraft carriers — he drew conclusions from American experience and understood perfectly well that the fleet’s main weapon was a long arm.
    1. mvbmvbmvb 24 January 2018 17: 51 New
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      The long arm - and not only the fleet - is a modern missile weapon capable of overcoming the "existing and promising" missile defense.
  20. DimerVladimer 28 October 2016 13: 43 New
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    Someone may indicate the inability of the domestic DICRs to defeat the AUG in a hypothetical ocean battle, but in the 50s no one was going to drive the cruiser into the ocean, and off their shores they represented a formidable force to be reckoned with.


    "General Belgano" does not beat the comrade in your heart? This is a very significant episode of the "anti-landing operation" of an artillery cruiser under the cover of two destroyers ...

    Recall the fiasco of the Argentinean General Belgano.

    Artillery cruisers would not be able to oppose landing operations - since options of this type were carried out under the guise of AUG.
    As a result - the first thing the AUG suppresses is the air defense of the landing area and surface fleet - study the fall of Rabaul - an example of actions against a fortified naval base.

    So a large series of 86K and 68-BIS cruisers is a BIG mistake and a waste of money.

    As part of the BS — the “pistol at the temple” AUG — these ships were doomed to suicide attacks and would be effective ONLY in the case of pre-emptive strike (which does not fit with the official rhetoric that the USSR has only a defensive doctrine).

    In general, the fine artillery light cruisers - they were late for the war for which they were created, and in the new they were a useless burden - an expensive flag demonstration.
  21. tundra 2 February 2017 18: 21 New
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    I learned a lot of interesting things for myself (land). Thank you!
    Every time I visit the port of Novorossa, I look at Kutuzov, brutal, boat, pleasant, impressive, !!! BIG THAT I HAVE NOT SEEN.
  22. Vedzmin 15 March 2018 01: 00 New
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    I want to thank the author for this particular article about cruisers, which made it possible to understand the features of the application in the 50-70's.
    More than once with great interest I read series on various topics from Andrei, each time very informative!
  23. Protos 5 August 2018 21: 43 New
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    Quote: masiya
    When I was a boy in Sevastopol in the late 70s, I made my way to the shipyard on Inkerman, there were different ships and submarines before the fig, so I shied away with the camera on them, once I got into the submarine I went into the pilothouse and went into the dark, I didn’t I don’t see the fig, there was no flashlight (I just didn’t think about it) I just stumbled over something and with a slowdown I heard the sound of a burst and a blow below, where I almost fell the hell, but I went back and didn’t climb on Inkerman anymore ...


    In Sevastopol, there was a tradition on Pioneer Day on May 19 with all the men, after demonstrations, to go by boat from Grafskaya Pristan to Inkerman (this was the longest route and the only legal way to look at the Black Sea Fleet ships near)
    And in Inkerman there was a metal cutting, but not empty as it is now, but full of decommissioned "projects" of ships and submarines!
    We climbed them right in white pants and shirts .... I somehow fell through the buoy hatch at 641 project ... got it laughing